Etruscan Religion

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Definition

The religion of the Etruscans, the civilization which flourished from the 8th to 3rd century BCE in central Italy, has, like many other features of the culture, long been overshadowed by that of its Greek contemporaries and Roman conquerors. The polytheistic Etruscans had their own unique and distinct pantheon and practices, chief amongst which were augury (reading omens from birds and lightning strikes) and haruspicy (examining the entrails of sacrificed animals to divine future events). That the Etruscans were particularly pious and preoccupied with destiny, fate, and how to affect it positively was noted by ancient authors such as Livy, who described them as 'a nation devoted beyond all others to religious rites' (Haynes, 268). Etruscan religion would go on to influence the Romans, who readily adopted many Etruscan figures and rituals, especially those concerned with divination.

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